Memory loss evident even prior to diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
Memory and thinking skills may decline more rapidly in people who had mild cognitive impairment, which are signs suggesting these people are at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who did not have, according to a new study published in the March 23 print issue of Neurology.
The memory and thinking ability may decline even more rapidly in those who started experiencing dementia like Alzheimer's disease, the study found.
Robert S. Wilson, PhD, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois was quoted by media reports saying "These results show that we need to pay attention to this time before Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, when people are just starting to have problems forgetting things."
For the study, Wilson and colleagues examined data from 1,158 residents of Chicago at an average age of 79 of whom 149 had Alzheimer’s disease, 395 had mild cognitive impairment and 614 had no thinking or memory problems.
Tests on memory and thinking skills were performed at the beginning of the study and again every three years during the average 5.5 year follow-up.
The researchers found the thinking skills in those who had mild cognitive impairment declined twice as fast as each year as those who had no cognitive impairment. Of those with Alzheimer's disease, thinking skills declined four times as rapidly as those who had no cognitive problems.
By Jimmy Downs and editing by Denise Reynolds